Having seen the Spirit of God at work in Saul, Samuel takes the opportunity at Gilgal to make his farewell address to Israel (although this is not the end of Samuel’s work). He begins by defending his actions as leader, calling on Israel to bear witness that he has not enriched himself at their expense. Israel in turn swears before God that Samuel has treated no one unfairly. Samuel then takes the opportunity to call the people to repentance. He rehearses all that God had done for them and their ancestors from the time of their deliverance from slavery in Egypt through the years of disobedience and punishment in the wilderness. He reminds them of their unfaithfulness in the time of the Judges, and recounts God’s faithfulness in delivering them when they repented.
He ends with Israel’s most recent act of mistrust. They asked for a king instead of trusting in God to deliver. But even now if Israel and their king will turn to God, he will bless. Samuel ends his warning by calling on the Lord to send thunder and rain to show God’s power and his displeasure with Israel.
God thunders. In fear the people confess their sin of asking for a king. They ask Samuel to pray to God for their forgiveness. He agrees to do so, telling them not to fear for the Lord will not reject his penitent people.
God is faithful. He can work his will in spite of the bad choices his people make.
Faithful God, move us to repentance so that we may always stand in awe of you.
DR. GARY HOLLOWAY
Gary Holloway is Executive Director of the World Convention. Holding degrees from Freed-Hardeman, Harding, The University of Texas, and Emory University, he has written or edited thirty books, including (with Douglas Foster) Renewing God’s World: A Concise Global History of the Stone-Campbell Movement from ACU Press. He is married to Deb Rogers Holloway.